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Quote for organization

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

― Pablo Picasso

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Web resource for the new school year

Recent college graduate Ben Thomas Payne writes in USA Today College “4 Classroom-Tested Public Speaking Techniques.” This brief post has great advice (#4 is my favorite) for incoming public speaking students.

This article would be great to make available with online course readings for students.

Link to article

Advice for new public speaking instructors

Dr. Calvin Troup (my first public speaking course director) has written a guide for teachers new to public speaking. The full guide is available for purchase, but the publisher has made the introduction and first chapter available online.

Both are worth a read if you are new to teaching this topic or need answers to the questions “why do I have to learn this?” or “what are the main things I should take from this class?”

The “Home” link on the left provides a phone number to inquire about ordering the full guide.

Link to article

Web resource for delivery or organization

Terry Gault of The Henderson Group has done a guest post called “How to Avoid the 10 Most Common Rookie Mistakes in Public Speaking” at Prezi.com’s Presenter’s Guide.

The post contains a funny slideshow (above), which includes graphics, photos and movie clips. The additional text includes links to several other resources. One of these, also by Gault, answers a question that students often ask: “What the heck do I do with my hands?!?”

This would be an excellent link to provide to students at on your class site. The list could be developed into an in-class activity or out-of-class assignment asking students to react to the suggestions, for example to discuss which they find to be most and least important, and how they can use them in their own speeches.

Link to article

Web resource on delivery

Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation does a great job of explaining why extemporaneous speaking is the most effective format.

Using the image of “horror story” he defines the limitations of both memorized and read speeches, particularly in a classroom setting.

This would be a great resource to share with new speech teachers or with students skeptical about the extemporaneous format.

Link to article

Preparing to start the spring semester?

teachingpublicspeaking

As classes prepare to start for the spring semester, I wanted to highlight a few spots on the blog:

  • Day one overview: This page includes a lot of material recommended for the first few days of class, including a basic lesson plan with activities.
  • Impromptu speech topics: This has quickly become the most popular spot on the blog for those coming from search engines. I like to do these through the first 2/3 of the semester starting on day one. It makes a nice get-to-know-you activity and gets nearly everyone on their feet before their first speech. This was designed with a very informal approach.

In addition, to these items at the blog, I have a collection of items available at low cost at teacherspayteachers.com. Items include a workbook packed with activities and suggestions for various ways to use them, lesson plans for what I considered to…

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Example for why public speaking is important

This CNBC article from August 2013 highlights six courses that help graduates find jobs — and, naturally, public speaking makes the list. It is here along with other communication courses under the heading of “theater arts”. The comments from hiring managers about how to stand out from the crowd with your experience and class selection will be a big help to convince those students who still ask why they have to take speech.

Link to article

Preparing to start the spring semester?

As classes prepare to start for the spring semester, I wanted to highlight a few spots on the blog:

  • Day one overview: This page includes a lot of material recommended for the first few days of class, including a basic lesson plan with activities.
  • Impromptu speech topics: This has quickly become the most popular spot on the blog for those coming from search engines. I like to do these through the first 2/3 of the semester starting on day one. It makes a nice get-to-know-you activity and gets nearly everyone on their feet before their first speech. This was designed with a very informal approach.

In addition, to these items at the blog, I have a collection of items available at low cost at teacherspayteachers.com. Items include a workbook packed with activities and suggestions for various ways to use them, lesson plans for what I considered to be the most difficult topics when I was getting started, and PowerPoint presentations.

Lesson planning for day one (reblog)

teachingpublicspeaking

As semesters are nearing a start, I wanted to reblog an overview of my plan for the first day of class. There are several more items in the Day One category at the right.

The first day of class offers several challenges — demonstrating your ethos, covering important material and setting a tone for the rest of the semester. It can be hard to do it all well while also having students wandering in late, realizing they are in the wrong room, etc.

Here is an overview of how I approached the first day of class:

  • Information cards: I used the back side of old business cards and had the instructions for students up on the screen. I asked only basic questions like name (as you want to be called), preferred e-mail address, goal for this course, any concerns about the course. I have this set up well before class…

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A note on desk arrangement

A note on desk arrangement

A note on desk arrangement

One big advantage of teaching public speaking classes is that the enrollment is often left smaller than other introductory classes in order to allow time for all of the speeches. If the facilities allow it, this allows for rearranging the desks out of the standard rows and into a horseshoe or U-shaped arrangement. Over the years I’ve noted several advantages to doing this:

  • It puts the focus clearly on the speaker.
  • It allows students to see faces rather than only the back of another student’s head. Students have told me this helps them with speech anxiety because they are not seeing faces for the first time when they stand to speak.
  • It puts each student within a few feet of access to the professor, which helps in reaching students with questions, etc. Students have also told me this makes doing homework or texting less tempting because they know others will see them.
  • It makes it easy to put together small groups quickly for in-class group activities.
  • Students have told me they make more friends in classes with this arrangement — it’s harder to be anonymous.

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